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The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Can a wedding dress save a bunch of hardened crims? The Full Monty meets Orange is the New Black in a poignantly comic story about a men's prison sewing circle.

Derek's daughter Debbie is getting married. He's desperate to be there, but he's banged up in Yarrandarrah Correctional Centre for embezzling funds from the golf club, and, thanks to his ex-wife, Lorraine, he hasn't
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ebook, 368 pages
Published May 5th 2021 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison is a thoughtful and engaging contemporary novel by Meredith Jaffe.

Derek Brown is five years into a seven year sentence for embezzlement when he learns his daughter is getting married. Though he hasn’t seen nor heard from Debbie during his incarceration, despite writing her weekly letters, Derek wants to give her a gift that reminds her how much she is loved. Unable to afford any extravagance, Derek decides to use the skills he has learnt at Backtackers, the
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Craig / Phil
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you Harper Collins for sending us a copy to read and review.
The image of hardened prisoners sitting in a sewing room delicately crafting the most stunning wedding dress softens the heart and immediately draws attention to such positive activities.
Breaking down barriers and allowing second chances is a theme for life in general but is extra hard for those incarcerated, where they have society and family redemption to gain.
Derek is in for seven years.
He accepts this and lives each day to
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Bec
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one had me at Full Monty x Orange is the new black.

Derek is stuck in prison for embezzlement and his daughter Debbie is getting married. He has nothing to offer and his ex wife wants nothing to do with him. He wants to give his daughter something to show how much he loved her but with limited resources he’s not had much luck.

While sewing a cushion on his sewing circle Derry had a thought and decides he wants to make Debbie a wedding dress. His fellow inmates rally to help him get the supply
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Claire
4.5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌠 review to come
Marg
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!!
What Fern Reads
May 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five years into a seven year prison sentence, Derek finds out that his daughter Debbie is getting married. Thanks to his ex-wife, Derek hasn’t spoken to Debbie since he was sent down.

He wants to make a grand gesture to show his daughter how much he cares and inspiration strikes during his weekly sewing circle. 🧵

He’s going to make Debbie a wedding dress!

But as time runs out to make the dress with his motley gang of crims, the dress begins to take on greater significance, and Derek’s chance to re
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Leanne
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was excited to read The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison as I had already read and enjoyed The Fence (2016) and The Making of Christina (2017). It did not disappoint.

Set in the Yarrandarrah prison Jaffe successfully conveys feelings of incarceration, low level violence, restrictions and deprivations without making me feel claustrophobic. Instead, she introduces a motley group of characters that I liked despite their crimes. Actually their crimes, as per real jail life, are rarely discussed.
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Debbie Harris
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the moment I picked it up in the book shop and read the back I was hooked and had to buy it immediately. I worked in a men's prison (correctional centre) as a teacher and the Manager of Education programs for over 20 years before being made redundant (along with most of the teachers around the state of NSW), so you can imagine how much of this book resonated with me! The story was fun in places but also showed the life that goes on 'inside' with great clarity ...more
Maya Linnell
Jun 05, 2021 added it
Shelves: 2021
As a keen reader, sewer and Scrabble fan, I loved the many elements of this story. Full review to come. Many thanks to Harper Collins for an early review copy.
Kim (hundredacreofbooks.com)
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Reading the synopsis had me eager to discover just how this story would work but the minute I met the other inmates and staff of the correctional centre I knew I was on to a winner with a character-based story; the element I look for most in a book.

Read my full review here
https://hundredacreofbooks.com/index....
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Susan Gibson
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable
Nicole
The Dressmakers Of Yarrandarrah Prison is the 2021 contemporary release from Australian author, Meredith Jaffe. I was immediately captivated by the cover which is intricately linked to the storyline and the intriguing premise of a prison inmate making a wedding dress for his daughter. Like many people I had preconceptions of life in prison, and from the opening pages Jaffe made me reconsider my prejudices that were largely informed from books, television shows and movies. Jaffe has researched li ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘When Sharon enters the room, Derek doesn’t know where to look.’

Derek Brown, a prisoner at the Yarrandarrah Correctional Centre for embezzling funds, learns that his daughter Debbie is getting married when his (former) sister-in-law Sharon visits him. Derek’s been imprisoned for five years and still has two to serve. Sharon is the first visitor he has had except for his lawyer. Derek writes to his daughter every week, but he has never heard back from her. Debbie is 21, and she is planning to mar
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Lorraine Luff
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard about Meredith Jaffe’s new book The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison I was intrigued by the unusual concept of a group of male prisoners actually making a wedding dress.

The cover alone is a work of art setting the scene for the way in which the threads of the story are cleverly woven together.
The inmates of the prison form a bond over the shared venture of making a wedding dress for Derek’s daughter, Debbie. They each bring something of themselves to the project, learning so
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Michelle
Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read The Fence by Meredith Jaffe a few years back and loved it, so I was glad to be offered the opportunity to read her latest book, The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison.
As the title suggests, the story is mostly set in prison, where a man by the name of Derek is doing time for embezzlement after stealing funds from his local golf club. A bit of a back story about Derek - he was a math teacher, and was married to Lorraine for many years, but is now divorced from 'Lol' as he calls her. Togeth
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Rhoda
May 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a copy of this book to review!

Derek is serving time in prison for embezzlement and has had no contact with his ex-wife and daughter for over five years, despite having written to his daughter Debbie weekly. When he learns from his ex-sister in law that his daughter is getting married, he wants to send her a special gift that will really show her how much he loves her.

He is struck by inspiration while at his weekly prison sewing circle
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The Lucky Find Book Club
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
There was so much I Ioved about this book. It took me by surprise because there were aspects of the book that I just wasn't  expecting.

Derek's in Yarrandarrah Correctional centre, he hasn't spoken to his daughter Debbie in years. When he finds out she is getting married Derek knows he has to find a way to show her how much he loves her. Being in prison he has little to no money to buy her a gift. During his weekly prison sewing session he gets the grand idea to make Debbie a wedding dress. The
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Bec
May 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Who would've thought a book about a group of prisoners sewing a wedding dress would be utterly so wonderful?

𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚜𝚖𝚊𝚔𝚎𝚛𝚜 𝚘𝚏 𝚈𝚊𝚛𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚊𝚛𝚛𝚊𝚑 𝙿𝚛𝚒𝚜𝚘𝚗 tells the story of a father's love for his daughter. Derek is five years into a seven year sentence when he has a surprise visitor- his ex sister in law, Sharon. And she brings joyful news. Debbie, Derek's daughter is getting married.

Unable to see or have any contact with his daughter for so many years, Derek struggles with the decision on what to g
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Carol Oldham
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Meredith Jaffé’s new book, The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison. All the while I was reading it, I was thinking of Maeve Binchy, Liz Byrszki, and Monica McInerny. Anyone who loves their books will most definitely love this new addition to that genre.

I also loved the "australianism" and the characters. I think every book has a lot of the author in them (which is only natural) but the person who wrote "The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah" is a person I think I would like very much. I’m su
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Carol Oldham
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Meredith Jaffé’s new book, The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison. All the while I was reading it, I was thinking of Maeve Binchy, Liz Byrszki, and Monica McInerny. Anyone who loves their books will most definitely love this new addition to that genre.
I also loved the "australianism" and the characters. I think every book has a lot of the author in them (which is only natural) but the person who wrote "The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah" is a person I think I would like very much. I’m su
...more
Claire
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
A funny and heartfelt look at life in minimum security. Derek is doing 7 years for stealing 750k from the golf club he worked at, he's never once had a visitor until his sister in law comes to tell him his daughter is getting married in 7 months time.

Derek only has $200 to his name but looks to his prison sewing circle, Backtackers, for inspiration for a gift. After much peer pressure, he decides to enlist all their help to make her a dress for her big day.

Contains a cast of absolute characters,
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Penny
May 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Meredith Jaffe has a way of writing light romping fiction with real heartfelt issues at its core. Beneath The Dressmakers’ quirky premise of a men’s prison sewing circle are the issues of deception, estranged families and the consequences of gambling addiction, all delivered with a feather light touch.
Jaffe holds the tension well as we get to know the characters and the plot thickens. The second half is a real page-turner as we get increasingly invested in Derek’s mission to reconnect with his
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Caspette
May 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh this book was a surprising delight. It seems odd to say that a book about prisoners could be sweet and heartwarming but here I am.

This book follows a group of male prisoners who are part of a sewing group. It follows their lives in prison and how the sewing group improves their connections to each other.

I enjoyed reading how the relationships developed and how they impacted the story. The story itself takes a different view of prison life, that not everyone run there is irredeemable.
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Marea Ford
May 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have read both of Meredith Jaffe's previous novels and was so much looking forward to reading this latest one. I was not disappointed! A warm and funny tale which although based within a prison, features characters so easily relatable and recognisable within Australian culture, it could be based within any of our own community structures. Really impactful themes facing the importance of forgiveness not just of others, but of ourselves. Reminds us that outcomes aren't the only thing that matter ...more
Tiffany Stubbin
Jun 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Oh my gosh, such a beautiful and well-researched story. Though I thought the secondary story was a bit irrelevant, reading the author's note at the end made sense why it was in there. I thought this story was absolutely about redemption and complex human beings who end up in the prison system. This one was a tear jerker - happy tears, worry tears, anger tears, joy and relief throughout the story. A surprising suggestion for book club, but again, glad at the choice. I'm going to go out and buy a ...more
Book Case 71
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
There are lots of themes and things to think about from this novel, but it remains upbeat and is often funny, despite the circumstance. It feels like a beach read, just because it is written in such a format that is so easy to read. There are 3 central characters, through whose eyes the story is told, but a further cast who are all central to the story and make it so much richer. One of the main character of the story for me is the wedding dress itself - which is an amazing feat that Meredith Ja ...more
Anna Loder
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful read of community, redemption and love. I loved the themes and the premise. Probably the only book I will ever want to read about life in prison. It’s a really visual novel, you can see it all in your minds eye, and of course I swear I know Lorraine 😂 lots of really lovely characters you are completely cheering on. Such a beautiful motif x you just hope that Derek is going to be ok
Lyn
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was wondering how this story would work, but it does so well. This book raises a lot of issues to ponder after reading the last page. I enjoyed the friendships, the heart breaks and the ultimate light at the end of the tunnel. This could have been a bit cheesy, but it certainly wasn’t. The characters were real, vulnerable and wonderful. It was also great to read about prison life in a realistic way..
Je Long
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book from Melinda Jaffe. I finished this over a weekend. It is a lovely story, humorous and sad and the characters are great. It's a story of a father's love for his daughter and how a bunch of men in prison can create something wonderful when they work together. Like her other books, I think this would make a wonderful Australian film. I loved this book. ...more
Sanchia
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed The Fence so was looking forward to this. Set in a prison bursting with characters of varying villainy, Jaffe gently builds her cast in the sewing club as they band together to create a wedding dress for Derek’s estranged daughter Debbie.
A light and enjoyable read that depicts human frailties as well that of problems with incarceration, there are some twists and turns along the way.
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Meredith Jaffé is the author of three novels for adults--The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison (2021), The Making of Christina (2017) and The Fence (2016.) Horse Warrior, the first in a children’s series, was published in 2019. She also contributed a short story, Emergency Undies, to the 2019 Funny Bones anthology, which raises funds for the charity War Child.

She is the Festival Director of Story
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